POOL PLAY WILL GO FOR SECOND STEPHEN FOSTER VICTORY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, May 27, 2013) – Pool Play scored a 36-1 upset victory in the 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) and now he will attempt to join Vodika Collins and Recoup the Cash as two-time winners of the race.
“We know he likes the distance and he likes Churchill,” trainer Mark Casse said. “We also want to keep him safe. That’s our number one concern. We pick our spots with him. He’s our old guy in the barn.”
Bill Farish’s Pool Play is an 8-year-old dark bay or brown horse by Silver Deputy. He will enter the Stephen Foster off a sixth-place finish in the Elkhorn (GII) at Keeneland, the same race he used to prep for the Stephen Foster in 2011.
“His recent form hasn’t been great, but we’re going to give it a shot,” Casse said. “We know we’ll be a longshot again, but with the perfect storm and perfect trip, we may have a chance.”
In preparation for the Stephen Foster, Pool Play worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs on May 25 under Miguel Mena, who was aboard for Pool Play’s 2011 Stephen Foster triumph and will have the call again on June 15.
Other Stephen Foster possible starters: Successful Dan, Take Charge Indy, Cyber Secret, Golden Ticket and Fort Larned.
SUCCESSFUL DAN COULD WORK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS ON SATURDAY
Mort Fink’s homebred Successful Dan, who is stabled at Keeneland for trainer Charlie LoPresti, could ship to Churchill Downs to work Saturday in preparation for the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) on June 15.
“He hasn’t run since (winning) the Ben Ali and I’m thinking I may want to bring him over here and give him an easy five-eighths breeze,” LoPresti said. “I’m just thinking about it, but I think it would be smart.”
Should LoPresti decide to bring Successful Dan to Churchill Downs this weekend, he would likely bring him to Louisville on Friday night and breeze him Saturday morning.
“I’d breeze him Saturday and keep him here to school in the paddock that afternoon and then take him home,” LoPresti said.
Successful Dan most recently worked at Keeneland on May 25 and breezed six furlongs in 1:12. “He’s doing really, really well,” LoPresti said.”
LoPresti’s other stable star, defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan, will not take on his older half-brother in the Stephen Foster.
“We toyed with the idea, but if he runs anywhere (at the Spring Meet) he’ll run in the Firecracker.”
The $150,000-added Firecracker Handicap (GII) at one mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be run on June 29. Wise Dan won the Firecracker in 2011 in his first start on turf.
TAPTOWNE STAYS AT HOME FOR COMPETITIVE FRIDAY FEATURE
Clovertowne Farm’s Taptowne, runner-up to Cyber Secret in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII), was under consideration for the $250,000 Mountainview Handicap at Penn National on June 1, but instead will stay at home to run in Friday’s featured allowance / optional-claiming event for 3-year-olds and up which have not won a graded sweepstakes over a mile in 2012-13 or claiming price of $125,000.
“He probably would have been one of the top three choices at Penn National, but our game plan was we would stay here if the allowance race went and it’s going,” trainer Tim Glyshaw said. “He’ll get to run out of his own stall and have his usual rider.”
Taptowne enters Friday’s race off a third-place effort in an allowance at Churchill Downs on April 30. After stumbling at the start, Taptowne raced on the lead under Calvin Borel and led in the stretch before being caught by Seruni and Agent Di Nozzo.
“The start hurt him a little bit and I don’t think the track was playing very kind to speed,” Glyshaw said. “Also, we were running him back in 17 days after possibly his best race ever (the Oaklawn Handicap). Now he’ll have his 30 days between races and the track has been a lot fairer to speed this week. If it doesn’t change before next week then we’ll be OK.”
Taptowne will go up against some stiff competition Friday, including multiple Grade-III winner Endorsement, multiple stakes winner Bim Bam and stakes winner Agent Di Nozzo.
“When you get to this level, they are all going to be tough,” Glyshaw said. “But this should be a good spot for him.”
Friday’s featured race at 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Churchill Downs will go as Race 7 at 5:52 p.m.
NO LIVE RACING TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY OR THRUSDAY
There will be no racing at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday after Monday’s Memorial Day holiday racing program. Racing will resume Friday at 2:45 p.m. Churchill Downs will be open Thursday for simulcast wagering in ITW area on second floor of the Clubhouse from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. featuring Calder (12:50 p.m.), Belmont Park (1:05 p.m.), Delaware Park (1:15 p.m.), Louisiana Downs (2:25 p.m.) and Hollywood Park (4 p.m.).
STAKES NOMINATIONS CLOSING
Nominations for the five graded stakes races on Saturday, June 15 close Saturday: the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; $175,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles; $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; $100,000-added Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf; and $50,000-added President of the United Arab Emirates Cup (GI) for Arabian 4-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles. Stephen Foster Handicap night is the first of three Downs After Dark events at the Spring Meet. The first of 11 races will be 6 p.m. EDT. Handicap weights for the Stephen Foster and Fleur de Lis will be announced Saturday, June 8.
STEPHEN FOSTER HANDICAP: “WIN AND YOU’RE IN” BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
The winner of the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 15 is entitled to an automatic entry into the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The nominated winner will have pre-entry and entry fees waived for the 1 ¼-mile Classic and will receive a travel stipend of $10,000 if traveling from a location in North America or $20,000 if traveling internationally.
DOWN THE STRETCH
Blueeyesintherein, winner of last year’s Debutante (GIII) at Churchill Downs, scratched from Monday’s Winning Colors (GIII). “It’d be her third race in six weeks and the race came up a bit tougher than I thought it would,” trainer Garry Simms said. Blueeyesintherein finished fifth in the Eight Belles (GIII) on Kentucky Oaks Day in her most recent star. …
Holiday Soiree, most recently third in the Humana Distaff (GI), also was scratched from Monday’s Winning Colors. She is entered in Monday’s Red Cross at Monmouth Park. …
Trainer Al Stall Jr. said Apropos came out of her win in Sunday’s fourth race in fine order. Favored at 2-5, Apropos was geared down in the stretch and finished a length in front of Seaneen Girl. Stall said Apropos could run next in the $65,000-added Roxelana overnight stakes at Churchill Downs on June 22. …
Abstraction, winner of the Federico Tesio in his last start, breezed five furlongs in :59.20 for trainer David Carroll on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Monday morning. It was the fastest work of 14 at the distance. …
Optimizer, a three-time Grade III winner and most recently third in the Dixie (GII), breezed a half-mile in :48.80 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. It was the second fastest work of 34 at the distance on Monday morning.
CITY’S BEST HAPPY HOUR! EVERY FRIDAY
Churchill Downs will host the City’s Best Happy Hour! in The Plaza every Friday from 4-7 p.m. throughout the 38-day Spring Meet. Drink specials include $2 Budweiser/Bud Light, $3 Stella Artois and $4 14 Hands Blackberry Sangria. There also will be a variety of food trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association and live music on the Plaza Stage by From Paris.
FAMILY FUN DAY ON SUNDAY
Churchill Downs will host Family Fun Day Presented by Kroger on the Plaza Balcony every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the 38-day Spring Meet. Kiddos age 12 and younger are invited to enjoy games, crafts and visits from Churchill Downs’ popular mascot Churchill Charlie. This week’s special activity includes a visit by Churchill Downs’ Director of Horticulture Matt Bizzell, who will show guests how to properly plant a Hyacinth Bean Vine seed. There will be three plant-potting sessions (1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.) and kids can decorate clay pots, too. The first of 10 races on Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. Churchill Downs’ Junior Jockey Club, located inside the Gate 10 entrance, also entertains children age 12 and under on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed when Downs After Dark occurs on June 15, June 22 and June 29). The “Kids Zone” is dedicated to providing fun for the youngsters at Churchill Downs, but all children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Monday, May 27
Tuesday, May 28
Wednesday, May 29
Thursday, May 30
Friday, May 31
Saturday, June 1
Sunday, June 2
- END -